Vision therapy is a series of doctor-supervised eye exercises utilizing prisms, occlusion lenses, and specialized testing to improve visual problems than cannot be fixed by glasses and contacts alone. It involves training focusing, eye aiming, coordination, and visual form perception. The therapy aims to develop efficient visual skills and processing of visual information. Vision therapy can improve quality of life in several areas- it can help students struggling with reading and writing, adults to do computer work with less eyestrain, and athletes to gain a competitive edge.
Vision therapy is more than simply distinguishing fine details of what you see. It also involves eye coordination, eye-hand coordination, and eye movement and fixation abilities.
Your vision continues developing from birth. However, it can get disrupted by your experience and visual environment. You can have visual processing and coordination problems even if you can see clearly and have healthy eyes. As a result, you may experience visual discomfort when you do visually demanding activities. Read on to learn about the conditions vision therapy can treat.
Strabismus causes the eyes not to align simultaneously. One or both eyes can turn down, in, up, or out. One can turn constantly or intermittently when you are ill or under stressful conditions. Often the eye turn worsens towards the end of the school or workday. Patients may experience double vision when their eye turns, get frequent headaches, or feel their eyes get tired very quickly.
Vision therapy can treat strabismus without surgery. Whether you have corrective lenses or not, vision therapy can treat the condition in a non-invasive and effective way. The program teaches your brain to have better control over your eye movements, and maintain eye alignment when looking at different distances.
Amblyopia is an eye condition that develops during childhood, usually due to a high prescription in one eye or an eye turn. Your brain favors your other eye when the nerve pathways between one eye and the brain are not as strong, which causes one eye to have reduced vision. The symptoms of this condition are poor visual acuity in one eye, poor depth perception, and eyes that appear not to work together.
Vision therapy is a more comprehensive approach to amblyopia treatment than patching alone. Vision therapy equalizes focusing and tracking abilities between the eyes, and teaches the brain to use both eyes together. It also reduces the suppression that happens when your brain inhibits your weaker eye. As a result, you experience improved visual acuity in the amblyopic eye, enhanced depth perception, and better hand eye coordination.
The eyes must work together in a coordinated and precise fashion for you to see comfortably. They must accurately aim at an object when looking at something. Each eye sends an image to your visual cortex, the part of your brain involved with the entire seeing process.
If the eyes are working together properly, you get depth perception and a single and clear image. However, if the two eyes do not work in coordination, your visual cortex receives two images that are different. As a result, you experience visual discomfort or double vision.
Children or adults with double vision or visual discomfort struggle to function at work, school, or during playtime. Vision therapy helps with developing teamwork and coordination of your two eyes.
Every time you look from one object to another, you must change focus to see clearly. The ciliary muscle of the eye controls the focusing function of the eye. A focusing problem develops when this muscle cannot relax or constrict accurately and quickly. Children with this problem often struggle to read the whiteboard, have difficulty reading for a long time, or feel like their eyes get tired halfway through their school day.
Vision therapy can develop more efficient eye-focusing skills. As a result, patients have fewer headaches, clearer vision at distance and near, and more stamina for reading and computer work.
Eye tracking refers to the ability to follow things with your eyes. When we play sports, our eyes have to follow a moving ball. When we read, our eyes have to move across the page efficiently from one word to the next, and then from one side of the page to the other to find the start of the next line. Problems with eye tracking can lead to loss of place while reading, difficulty copying from the board, or difficulty with ball sports.
Vision therapy can train the eyes to track more effectively, which can help children who are struggling with reading.
Visual perception or processing skills help you analyze and interpret what you see. Visual form perception is an essential skill for learning letters, numbers, and shapes. Good visual-spatial processing is needed to properly space out letters and words while writing. Visual memory helps us be able to picture spelling words in our mind. A good reader is able to visualize the story in their mind, which helps improve comprehension.
Vision therapy can improve visual perceptual skills, helping children become better readers and writers.
For more about vision therapy, contact Vision Rehabilitation Associates at our office in Northfield, Illinois. Call (847) 716-2340 to book an appointment today.